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fights corruption in unique note
Prathibha Parameswaran, CNN
April 20, 2007
Chennai: A Chennai
based NGO Fifth Pillar has started a rather unique initiative against
It's called a
zero rupee note – a note that vows to take on the babus who ask
for a bribe.
Armed with the
note they are not fighting aliens but a much more common evil –
Their weapon looks
like a Rs 500 note, but they call it a zero rupee note.
The idea is whenever
an official asks you for a bribe, just give him the zero rupee note
and hope that he'll get the message.
It’s to help the
corrupt officer understand the message there's even an oath that's
printed on the note.
"When handed over
to people who are corrupt, they anxiously get the rupee, then they're
shocked and then they turn angry," said Fifth Pillar Vice-president
an impact over the people," said T Viswanath, a volunteer.
And their effort
is to hand the note over to the common man – be it an auto driver
or a bus passenger or just about anyone who doesn't want to pay
Clearly the Mahatma
would be proud to have his photograph on the note at least.
"One man applied
for Electricity Board connection and after giving a bribe of Rs
1,500, he gave me a ring. Immediately we contacted the person,"
"After half an
hour the gentleman called and thanked us and told us that the EB
people went to his house half an hour later and completed all the
procedures," he added.
In a country where
corruption is a way of life, the zero rupee note still has a long
way to go before it can make a difference. But at least it's beginning
on the right note.
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